More Lon­don­ers mov­ing to north

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

NORTH­ERN re­gions like Greater Manch­ester have tra­di­tion­ally been con­cerned about a brain drain to Lon­don - but new fig­ures re­veal record num­bers of Lon­don­ers are mov­ing here.

Ex­clu­sive anal­y­sis, con­ducted by Reach PLC’s Data Unit, can re­veal that grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple are shun­ning the cap­i­tal to live in our re­gion.

A whop­ping 10,200 peo­ple left Lon­don to move to Greater Manch­ester last year - while 8,870 peo­ple moved from Greater Manch­ester to Lon­don.

It means Lon­don suf­fered a net loss of 1,330 peo­ple to Greater Manch­ester - or more than three a day. It’s an im­pres­sive feat when you con­sider that Greater Manch­ester is around 210 miles away from the cap­i­tal.

That’s the high­est loss to Greater Manch­ester that Lon­don has suf­fered in at least five years, ac­cord­ing to new data from the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics.

Salford had the high­est net gain of peo­ple from Lon­don in Greater Manch­ester, with 380 more peo­ple mov­ing from Lon­don to the area than went the other way.

Stock­port had a net gain of 210 Lon­don­ers, and Rochdale had a gain of 180. De­spite this - Manch­ester as a city it­self, does suf­fer a net loss of peo­ple to Lon­don. Some 4,710 peo­ple moved to Lon­don from the Manch­ester city coun­cil area, while 100 more (4,810) moved from Manch­ester to Lon­don.

One pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for the loss is that grad­u­ates might think Lon­don has bet­ter ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Alexan­dra Rucki and her friends are among the num­bers who have moved to Manch­ester from the cap­i­tal in re­cent years. She had left the re­gion for Lon­don in 2011, be­fore head­ing back.

The 29-year-old M.E.N. re­porter said: “I moved back to Manch­ester three years ago. Over the past two years, friends who are ac­tu­ally born and bred Lon­don­ers have fol­lowed suit and are liv­ing up here. At first I loved liv­ing in Lon­don and the so­cial life that came with it, but the drain on my fi­nances meant I didn’t get to take full ad­van­tage.

“In Lon­don I lived in the liv­ing room of a two bed flat in Zone 3, con­verted to three, with two other girls. It was tiny and re­ally noisy.

“For the same amount of rent I now live in a city cen­tre flat, it’s still a nov­elty to be able to live so close to the cen­tre. I had to catch a train and two tubes for the seven mile jour­ney to my of­fice, spend­ing £40 a week to top up my Oys­ter card.

“Now I have just a 20 minute drive from home. It was a strug­gle to save any money, but now I can af­ford to have a car and go on hol­i­days. I think peo­ple are be­com­ing aware it is no longer nec­es­sary to build your ca­reer in the cap­i­tal, there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties for grad­u­ates in Manch­ester.”

One key rea­son why more peo­ple mov­ing to Greater Manch­ester from Lon­don than the other way round could be house prices, which re­main sub­stan­tially cheaper up here.

The av­er­age home costs £155,868 in the North West of Eng­land - some 67.8 per cent cheaper than the av­er­age £484,584 it costs to buy a home in Lon­don.

Over­all Lon­don is hem­or­rhag­ing more peo­ple than ever, suf­fer­ing a net loss of 106,620 peo­ple to other parts of the UK in 2017.

Some 225,690 peo­ple moved to the cap­i­tal while 332,310 left. That’s a huge in­crease from the net loss of 50,670 peo­ple some five years ear­lier in 2012.

Stephen Clarke, se­nior eco­nomic an­a­lyst for Res­o­lu­tion Foun­da­tion, a liv­ing stan­dards think tank, said: “Lon­don is a net ex­porter of peo­ple to the rest of the UK. This is likely due to high hous­ing costs with fig­ures sug­gest­ing that peo­ple are leav­ing Lon­don when they have chil­dren and want to put down roots, a strug­gle given prop­erty prices in the cap­i­tal.

“Lon­don needs to get a han­dle on its high hous­ing costs if its ‘liv­ing stan­dards ex­o­dus’ is to be stopped.”

Alexan­dra Rucki

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